The symbiosis of plants and animal has always been present, but long ago a special bond was formed to make the survival of plants coincide with the survival of their caretakers.
Common for sailors to get lashings for punishment. Sailors would then get tattoos of god symbols on thier back so the thrasher was less likely to whip the symbol of the god.
Others say symbols bring bad luck. They draw the attention of the god and it could be wrathful.